Effects of timber harvest on epigeous fungal fruiting patterns and community structure in a northern hardwood ecosystem
Canadian Science Publishing
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Epigeous fungal fruiting has important impacts on fungal reproduction and ecosystem function. Forest disturbances, such as timber harvest, impact moisture, host availability, and substrate availability, which in turn may drive changes in fungal fruiting patterns and community structure. We surveyed mushrooms in 0.4-ha patch cuts (18 months post-harvest) and adjacent intact hardwood forest in northern New Hampshire, USA, to document the effects of timber harvest on summer fruiting richness, biomass, diversity, and community structure of ectomycorrhizal, parasitic, and saprobic mushroom taxa. Fungal fruiting richness, diversity, and community heterogeneity were greater in intact forests than patch cuts. Among functional groups, ectomycorrhizal fruiting richness, diversity, and biomass were greater in unharvested areas than in the patch cuts, but parasitic and saprobic fruiting did not differ statistically between the two forest conditions. Our findings suggest that timber harvest simplifies fungal fruiting communities shortly after harvest, in particular triggering declines in ectomycorrhizal taxa which are important symbionts facilitating tree establishment and regeneration. Multi-aged silvicultural practices that maintain mature forest conditions adjacent to and throughout harvested areas through deliberate retention of overstory trees and downed woody material may promote fungal fruiting diversity in regenerating stands.